By: Carolina Ramos
On: 6 April 2021

Why gut microbiota are important from birth to old age

Unicellular organisms, such as bacteria, have been on the planet for billions of years. They already existed long before multicellular life emerged, and remain the dominant life form on our planet. Unicellular organisms live in symbiotic or parasitic relationships with plants and animals, and this can have a major influence on how successful they are in life [1]. It has even been postulated that in the absence of bacteria humans would not have developed the current level of cognitive performance [2]. Humans live in a symbiotic relationship with gut microbes: we provide them with source of nutrition, while they help us...

By: Dr. Jeanette Mostert
On: 1 April 2021

How to take good care of your brain

A few weeks ago we celebrated Brain Awareness Week. During this week in March neuroscientists all over the world, help to raise awareness about how the brain works, how you can take good care of your brain, and how to deal with neurological or mental illnesses. For this occasion, I wrote a blog that was published here. Especially for our New Brain Nutrition readers, I’ve slightly adapted my blog to publish it here. You’re probably quite aware that you have a brain. But are you really? A lot of the amazing work this energy-consuming organ is doing is often taken...

By: Yangwenshan Ou
On: 24 March 2021

What does a healthy gut represent? Learn the definition of gut health

As a top-hot topic, gut health has been widely explored in an increasing number of scientific papers. Despite the truth that the term gut health is frequently used, is there a gold standard to describe it? Unfortunately, there is no clear and unique definition of gut health, but we can give a rough idea of it.[1][2] In general, gut health can be interpreted as a status without gastrointestinal relevant symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea and etc. To be more specific, a healthy gut meets at least five requirements [1]: effective digestion and absorption of food effective gut barrier function and...

By: Brittany van Beek
On: 17 March 2021

Experiencing working in the gut-brain axis lab

As a master’s student of Cognitive Neuroscience in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, I was able to experience working in a research lab for a few weeks. During this so-called lab rotation, I learned a lot about the gut microbiome and its effects on behaviour from my supervisor Dr. Mirjam Bloemendaal and dr. Alejandro Arias Vasquez (coordinator of the Eat2beNICE project). In this blog, I will share with you some highlights of my experience. I have always been interested in the effects of food, such as how differences in the amount and type of food you eat influence your body. However, I...

By: Dr. Noèlia Fernàndez Castillo
On: 10 March 2021

Gut microbes and mental health disorders

Mental health disorders include mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, and psychotic conditions, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The search for new therapeutical approaches is needed for these disorders and emerging research is focusing on the gut microbiota as a novel target. Gut microbiota, consisting of a large population of different microorganisms, affect the brain and play an important role on mental health disorders. The composition of the gut microbiota is dynamic and influenced by the diet. Therefore, the gut microbiota could be targeted as part of new treatments for these disorders. Bacteria of the gut microbiota produce different...

By: Carolina Ramos
On: 4 March 2021

Diet as a mediator between health and disease

In humans, many biological processes such as instincts, emotions and behaviour, are interconnected to guarantee survival. This understanding was already mentioned many centuries ago. In ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates (400BC) defined the importance of the balance between the human body and environment; what we eat, what we feel and our behaviour (emotions) according to the person’s personality (genetics) or character. This balance leads to well-being, health, and happiness, while an imbalance leads to illness [1]. Today, centuries after the postulates of Hippocrates, the field of medicine can give a biological explanation to the reasoning of the Greek philosopher. Humans...

By: Clara Hausmann, Carolin Muller
On: 2 March 2021

There is no time like the present – cognitive biases and the need for real-time data

Imagine, you are randomly picked to take part in a study. The researchers aim to investigate some of your daily behavior. For this purpose, you need to fill out a questionnaire in which you are asked to report on positive and negative events that have occurred during the past four days. Furthermore, you have to report on your food intake, including the exact amount and time of your meals. While you might easily remember what you had for breakfast today, you probably cannot perfectly reconstruct all meals and snacks from the past days. This kind of forgetfulness might lead to...

By: Johanne Telnes Instanes
On: 16 February 2021

The pros and cons of collecting data through self-report questionnaires

Data used in scientific research take on many different forms and are collected in multiple ways. One method I use in my research is collecting data from self-report questionnaires. This helps me to study whether a mother’s diet during pregnancy can be linked to impulsive or compulsive behavioural traits in her children. In this blog, I will explain to you the benefits of using such questionnaires, but also some of the limitations such data have. In medical research, self-report questionnaires are frequently used to collect data. They have several advantages. In general, they are inexpensive and simple to administer, making...

By: Dr. Manuel Schlipf
On: 11 February 2021

How to prevent digital addictions during lockdown

To contain the spread of the Corona-Virus, governments all around the world have introduced measures such as “lockdown“, school closures, restriction of the number of contacts, and “stay at home” orders. Many of the measures affect especially children and families and threatens their well-being. Digital media are essential for homeschooling, maintaining social contacts or getting information. In addition, digital media (e.g. video gaming) are often used to cope with negative emotions. A study during the first lockdown in Germany indeed revealed an increase in video gaming time in a representative sample of children and adolescents of up to 75%. Their...

By: Dr. Lizanne Schweren
On: 9 February 2021

Why diet can be such a delicate topic

All day and every day, we are surrounded by food. At the same time, our own food intake can be quite a sensitive topic. Friendly conversations about what’s a healthy diet can easily turn into heated arguments, and many of us feel uncomfortable sharing exactly what we eat and drink. When asked, many people are happy to report their veggies but not that unintended late-night chocolate ice cream. Some prefer to eat when they are alone, or even eat in secret. Unless someone is close to us, we tend not to question or comment on someone’s dietary choices. How come...